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Down For the Count by Martin Holmén. Book Review

August 13, 2017

Down for the Count

It’s winter 1935, Stockholm. Former boxer, Harry Kvist, leaves prison. All he wants to do is begin a new life with the lover he met in jail. But his past dogs him. It is a time seeing the rise of Nazi ideals, which is beginning to make life uncomfortable for many people, even in Sweden.

Before Kvist can leave Stockholm and his underworld life behind he must first find a killer. One who is linked to the very highest levels of society. Life it seems is not going to be far from easy for Kvist.

Harry Kvist is one of the most extraordinary, absorbing and offbeat detectives I have ever read. His personality grabs you from the first line. The first-person perspective certainly contributes to the immediacy of Kvist’s travails. But it is the way in which his story is told which really has you forgetting to breathe, because you’re drawn so deeply into his world, your own becomes irrelevant.

As a former boxer Kvist is essentially little more than a thug, called in when people don’t oblige those they owe money or other favours. Yet he is a man of high morals, protecting the weak unable to defend themselves, even though his own body is a wreck and he lives hand-to-mouth and by his wits.

The plot is excellent, the filth and every punch palpable. This is life in the raw, pulsating with energy. I am going to hunt out Martin Holmén’s other Kvist novels.

Down For the Count was courtesy of Pushkin Vertigo via NetGalley.

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